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In this project we map the multiple determinants of the gap between men and women concerning their social economic and legal position, focusing on the most vulnerable groups. We identify several structural mechanisms, their (short and long term) effects on the role of women and men in the family and labour market, and their mutual interaction (effects). This study is based on a review of national and international literature on individualized social security, the employment situation of women, the divorce law and other relevant literature concerning sociology and gender.

We propose four hypotheses in this study:

1.     In an individualized social security, women – because of their persistent larger role in family labour and more limited participation in paid work – are socially and legally less protected than men.

2.     In an individualized social security, women – because of discrimination on the labour market – are socially and legally less protected than men.

3.     An individualized social security system, together with a weakened solidarity between spouses after a divorce, leaves women disproportionately to bear the long term risks of their limited participation in paid work.

4.     Given that traditional gender roles are more explicitly pronounced in the most socio-economically vulnerable groups, women of these groups are the least protected in an individualized social security system and a situation of weakened solidarity between spouses. 

The aim of this study is to create an analytical framework that integrates the mechanisms undermining the economical, social and legal position of women.

Full title: The interaction of structural subordination mechanisms: an integrated policy and research framework for equal opportunities for women and men.

Researcher: Dr. Marjan Van Aerschot